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Will Manchester United Finish Top Four in the Premier League Next Year?

Manchester United fans have high hopes for their team for next season. With Jose Mourinho in charge they hope for at least a top 4 finish. But can they do it?

16/07/2016

/ by Editor
Manchester United fans didn’t have many reasons to be happy after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Now after the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager, the Red Devils’ fans once again harbour hopes of Top 4 finishes, title wins, and European finals.
Many fans will be hoping to win tickets to upcoming games and see the Portuguese master tactician at work. In fact, one of Mourinho’s biggest assignments will be to keep the fans happy and keep the enthusiasm of his initial appointment going by playing attractive football and winning points.
To do this he will have to mould the team into the shape and form that he desires, and there have already been reports that Jose wants to trim down Manchester United’s squad. There are a lot of players that just don’t fit into Mourinho’s system of playing such as Juan Mata, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, and Bastian Schweinsteiger and it is widely expected that these players, along with some of the less successful academy products introduced by Van Gaal, will be the first to leave the club.
In contrast to this, new players have already joined the club from Old Trafford, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Eric Bailly all expected to play key roles under Mourinho. There are also players who are rumoured to join United, and of them Paul Pogba is the most often mentioned name. If Mourinho manages to convince the so called Eiffel Tower to join United then that will be a major coup both for the Portuguese and for the club’s hierarchy with Ed Woodward at the helm.
Pogba is still not a Manchester United player however, and we will have to make this analysis based on the current squad that Mourinho has, not considering the rumoured signings which increase in number with every passing day.
The first name on Jose’s team sheet will definitely be David de Gea. The Spaniard is currently the best keeper in the world and Mourinho’s job will be to keep him away from the hands of Real Madrid this summer. If he stays he will certainly make the difference and propel his team at least a couple of places higher up than if he weren’t at the club.
All of Mourinho’s teams are defensively tight units which are almost impossible to break down. Defence is Mourinho’s most important part of the team, and whenever his defenders let him down his whole philosophy breaks down. That happened at Real Madrid and it happened again last year at Chelsea.
Manchester United’s defence is not the best in the English Premier League, but it is also not the worst. They have a capable defensive leader in Chris Smalling and also possess the left back with the highest potential in England in Luke Shaw.
Other than that, they do need defensive reinforcements, and that’s why Mourinho recruited Eric Bailly. To be honest however, they are still short of a defender or two to be considered as a Mourinhoesque defensive unit.
Midfield is also a problematic area and if Mourinho wants his United side to be in the Top 4 and to earn Champions League qualification he has to first bring in a deep-lying playmaker and a ball winning midfielder to compete with Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera.
Another conundrum which the Portuguese must solve is whether to play Rooney in midfield as Van Gaal did, whether to play him in his natural striker position or to make a bold move and to sell him. It seems that whichever move Mourinho chooses to make the fans will back him and it will then be up to Rooney to prove his worth or to leave the club for one last payday.
In terms of attacking options, Mourinho has already brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for whom he has an extremely high opinion, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Bundes Liga Player of the Year as voted by his fellow players. Both of them are already proven scorers, whether that is as a natural striker as Ibrahimovic, or as a goal scoring attacking midfielder as the Armenian. Together with Martial, the new recruits should form one of the most potent EPL attacks and should propel the Old Trafford team to at least a Top 4 finish.    
To sum up, Mourinho probably has the best job in the world, but at the same time it is the most difficult job in the world. He will have to trim down his squad and at the same time bring in new players to shape the team into his own playing system.
However, when one thinks of the immense football knowledge that Mourinho has and the squad that he currently possesses it seems that he is guaranteed a Top 4 finish, because other than Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea, there are no other teams that can finish above his current squad.
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